How ILFWDA Is Changing London Fashion Week

By Chere Di Boscio

London Fashion Week is changing.

Once an exclusive event for fashion’s elite, it’s now transforming into a multicultural, more inclusive event with an emphasis on sustainability, thanks to the Independent London Fashion Week Designers’ Association (ILFWDA).

This platform showcases up and coming local and international  designers for a much lower fee than the traditional LFW runways charge. Indeed, ILFWDA was founded in September 2017 as means of offering start-up designers a tailored fashion marketing service with an emphasis on innovation.

This year, ILFWDA returned to London Fashion Week with a sustainable fashion catwalk at the eccentrically beautiful venue Beach Blanket Babylon in Notting Hill. The show featured collections from eight independent sustainable designers, including an exclusive collection from the 2018 Eluxe Award-winning brand by Jeff Garner, Prophetik, as seen below.

A long-standing favourite eco-fashion brand here at Eluxe, Prophetik combines a dandyish, rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic with a robust sustainable philosophy – no wonder celebrities, including the Kings of Leon and supermodel Gisele Bündchen, wear his designs.

This season, Garner showcased a fabulous sustainable collection that featured 13 pieces. Dubbed “Women of the Crown,” each design was influenced by history’s great female regents, including Catherine of Medici, Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I, amongst others.

The collection featured ethically source sustainable materials such as delicately crafted lace, Kirkcaldy linens, Scottish tartans and Knockando wool. As a designer, Garner says it’s a strong priority to only use sustainable fabrics assembled by artisans using traditional skills for his work.

Of course, the ILFWDA also showcased other ethical, sustainable designers at their event such as Stacey Strahand, who has gained a reputation for designing slow fashion clothes for women with powerful personalities and unique fashion style.

This creator says she’s inspired by the heritage of fabric making in Yorkshire, a Northern British city where there has long been a tradition of emphasising the use of locally made, plant-based fabrics. She bases the ethical fabrication of her textiles there, and assembles them into floaty, feminine garments, such as the voluminous yet delicately light dress, below.

It should be mentioned that Stacey is also the brains behind ILFWDA – she herself organised the venue, designers, models, press, photographers, catering, lighting, music and transport for the first ever show, and the event has been blossoming ever since.

Yet another sustainable collection that was featured on the catwalk this year belonged to Nadira Mehjoub, whose stunning evening gowns (below) included intricate embroidery and beadwork on delicate laces and silks. Nadira’s French Algerian roots are evident in her love of embellishment, as well as in her passion for statement jewellery, which she also makes.

Rare vintage and upcycled fabrics are used in her super-sustainable collections, and she handmakes tiny flowers from silk and stones to ornament her creations. Perfect for red carpets and weddings, her dresses have been worn by celebrities and beauty contestants alike. 

Previous ethical designers at this increasingly important event have included Jocelyn Chen and Merdi Sihombeng. We look forward to what 2020 will bring!

Images courtesy John Hylton and ILFWDA (first and final two images).

Chere Di Boscio
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